A friend says to Whitehead, ‘It begins to look as though the one thing democracy has that is worth saving is the freedom of the individual.’ Whitehead responds by saying;
I would say the freedom of the individual is one. But your knowledge of history will remind you that there has always been misery at the bottom of society: in the ancient world, slavery; in the medieval world, serfdom; since the development of machine technique, industrial proletariats. Our own age is the first time when, if this machine production is sensibly organized, there need be no material want. Russia has relieved the suffering of the masses at the price of individual’s liberty; the Fascists have destroyed personal liberties without really much alleviating the condition of the masses; the task of democracy is to relieve mass misery and yet preserve the freedom of the individual.